Covid-19: Health officials announce one new case, urge churches to abide by 10-person limit

The Ministry of Health has announced there is one new confirmed Covid-19 case in New Zealand today.

Keep up with the latest on the coronavirus pandemic with 1 NEWS. Source: 1 NEWS

The information was released electronically as no Government media conference was scheduled today.

Today's case is linked to the St Margaret's cluster in Auckland and is a household contact of an earlier case. 

The Ministry of Health also said there have been zero deaths from coronavirus since yesterday's update. The death toll remains at 21.

The Ministry of Health used today’s announcement to highlight both the tracer app and group events at Alert Level 2 heading into the weekend.

They said the app has now recorded 293,000 registrations so far but encouraged as many people as possible to download the app.

“It will help us identify, trace, test and isolate any cases of Covid-19. The faster we can do these steps the less likely it is the virus can spread in our communities.

“It is also really important that businesses are going through the steps to get their unique QR code that people can use to record having been there.”

The Ministry of Health said 10,692 QR codes have been generated by businesses so far.  

With the weekend around the corner, the health officials also asked Kiwis to remember the maximum number of people allowed at gatherings remains at 10. The ministry specifically highlighted religion after police today released new enforcement guidelines suggesting that large religious services during Alert Level 2 will be allowed to resume.

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The new guidelines have contradicted Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's stance. Source: 1 NEWS

“This applies to both private and public gatherings, including church and faith-based ones,” the Ministry of Health said of the 10-person limit.

“The only exceptions to this are funerals and tangihanga registered by funeral directors with the Ministry of Health.”

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said this was the advice they had given to the Government.

“I know many people, including those of faith, want to move as quickly as possible to increase the size of their gatherings. I know how important it is for people to be able to practise their faith together.

“As we head into the weekend, I want to acknowledge once again the support and patience of New Zealanders right through Levels 4 and 3.

“The number of people at gatherings will be one of the specific issues being reconsidered by Cabinet on Monday.”

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Destiny Church spokesperson Anna Williamson said churchgoers are being told to stay in their cars and listen to the service on the radio. Source: 1 NEWS

Today's announcement means New Zealand's total number of people who have or have had Covid-19, including probable cases, rises to 1504. The number of confirmed cases - the number New Zealand gives to the World Health Organisation and compares with other nations - is 1154.

Of those cases, the Ministry of Health confirmed 1455 people have recovered, up three on yesterday for 97 per cent of all cases. A recovered case means the person is symptom free for at least 48 hours and it has been at least 10 days since they first became ill.

The Ministry of Health added there is one person in hospital with the virus. The person is not in intensive care.

There are still 16 significant Covid-19 clusters around the country. A significant cluster is a group of 10 or more people who have or have had the coronavirus.

Yesterday, 5408 Covid-19 tests were carried out in New Zealand, bringing the total to 250,246 so far.